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The Mystery of the Eucharist

Today’s guest post is by Robert Klesko, Verbum’s Catholic Educational Resources Product Manager

Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you …” (Ex. 16:4)

“…and the bread that I give is my flesh, for the life of the world” (Jn. 6:52)

These two passages thrust us from Moses forward to Christ, revealing God’s great care for his people. Yet as plain as the words of Scripture are, we continue to ask like the Israelites “What is it?” (Ex. 16:15) and to proclaim “This is a hard teaching” (Jn. 6:61). The Eucharist is “a hard teaching,” and this is why the Catholic faith has written eloquently and often on the theology of the Eucharist. This theology is compiled in Fr. James T. O’Connor’s The Hidden Manna: A Theology of the Eucharist, available on sale this month from Verbum.

The Hidden Manna takes you on a journey through the Church’s development of the doctrine of the Eucharist from apostolic times through Vatican II and the pontificate of Pope St. John Paul II. The journey, in many respects, mirrors the journey of the people of Israel. Israel, when encountering the manna, asks “what is it?” (Ex. 16:15) and the Church echoes the same question before the great mystery of the Blessed Sacrament. For truly, who can conceive of God raining down bread from heaven, and who can conceive that that same God would take on our human flesh and give us that same flesh as Eucharistic food? The word “mystery” appears again and again in O’Connor’s exposition of the theology of the Eucharist, and rightly so.

When we grapple with a mystery, we are prone to grumble—and this is another way in which the journey to understanding the Eucharistic mystery is like the journey of Israel. O’Connor states:

Israel’s grumbling never ceased.  “Now these things occurred as types to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did” (1 Cor. 10:6). It was then all a type of the Passover of the new Lamb, who has freed us from sin and misery, fed us with a more miraculous Food and Drink, and endured our grumbling.

“We never see anything but this manna! We detest this miserable food!” Even the miraculous wearied them, and they grumbled against it. Type that it was, it is sobering to reflect that we can say the same of the Eucharist: we are sick of it; it bores us; it does not satisfy. And we turn to other foods.

O’Connor captures an aspect of Christian life that Pope Francis has often spoken of, joylessness even in the face of such a great gift. Like Israel, many modern Catholics grumble and become disenchanted with the gift of the Eucharist.

Perhaps you have someone in your own life who has fallen away from the faith because the Eucharist, the central act of worship of the Christian people, has become ordinary. When reading of the Church’s understanding of the doctrine of the Eucharist, “ordinary” is a word that is never used. Perhaps all we need to draw the fallen away back to Eucharistic fellowship is to expose them to the beauty, mystery, and truth of the theology of the Eucharist. O’Connor quotes the great author, poet, and Catholic, J.R.R. Tolkien on his journey from spiritual darkness to the intense light and truth of the Eucharist:

Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament … There you will find romance, glory, honor, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves upon earth, and more than that: death: by the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste (or foretaste) of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, that every man’s heart desires. (Letters, 53-55).

The journey from darkness to light, falsehood to truth, which so permeates all of Tolkien’s writings, is a direct result of his profound love of the Blessed Sacrament. The Hidden Manna draws on the theology and experience of Christendom’s greatest champions and provides pages of deep insight and inspiration.

The Hidden Manna would make an excellent addition to any Verbum library, but perhaps it would be best given as a gift, like the Eucharist itself. Whether you take advantage of this sale to deepen your own understanding of the Eucharist or give it as a gift to a friend in need of being brought back to the table of the Lord, The Hidden Manna is a tremendous asset to the Church. The secret of The Hidden Manna is the paradox that Christ is never really hidden, he is there waiting for us in every tabernacle, at every Mass—there waiting for us to partake of this truly wonderful gift!

Steve Ray’s Summer Picks

Today’s guest post is by Steve Ray, popular speaker and author of St. John’s Gospel, Upon This Rock, Crossing the Tiber, and host of the popular TV series, The Footprints of God.

When Verbum asked me what books I would recommend for summer reading, it was easy to come up with some great titles.

I use Verbum every day, and there are certain books I use over and over again. The books are all interconnected, so while you could sit and read any of the books I picked (they’re all that good!), I use them more like reference works.

Home pageFor example, from the Verbum homepage, I like to start every day by simply clicking on today’s Gospel. Verbum springs into action. It opens an entire screen of windows—like having dozens of books all open to the exact right page. I have the Great Commentary of Cornelius à Lapide prioritized as a favorite, so it shows up automatically, and I can easily use parallel resources to switch to the Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, and the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. With just these three commentaries, I’ve uncovered spectacular insights about the Gospel (and Verbum has plenty more).

parallel resources

At any point in this process, I can run a Verbum Topic Guide or Passage Guide, and I’m presented with default collections of links to the Catechism, Church Documents, and the writings of the Church Fathers. The last category is often primarily populated by the Early Church Fathers Collection available in most of the Verbum Libraries. However, I’ve found the addition of the CUA Fathers of the Church Series invaluable in my study of any passage. I couldn’t even capture all the results I got just from today’s Gospel reading! Such easy access to our rich Tradition!

passage Guide

anchor yaleFinally, the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary is my go-to source for definitions. See more on why Bible dictionaries are awesome in this video. The Anchor Yale Dictionary has extensive definitions for over 6,000 entries. And it gets pulled right into the Bible Facts frame and opens on a double click of almost any word. With definitions this extensive, even clicking on words I already understand yields new discoveries.

The rest of my recommendations are just great titles that everyone should read or be familiar with.

For a marvelous Catholic Bible Study program that anyone can start in their parish or community, I’ve always recommended Catholic Scripture Study International. It is the best program you will find anywhere!! And it’s even better in Verbum. All the Bible links are connected directly to Scripture and the verse memorization works right in the software.

I used Verbum to write all my books, including Crossing the Tiber, Upon This Rock, and St. John’s Gospel. They take on a whole new dimension within the Verbum software.

See my complete list of recommendations here.

 

 

Addendum (by Alex Renn):

Steve asked me to address a question from a user on his blog: “What does your entire screen look like after you click on the daily reading?” Here’s the basic answer plus some additional considerations:

Steve’s layout will look something like this:

steve ray screenshot

1) The Lectionary layout does not actually change as far as panels are concerned. Setting priorities will change what appears in each panel. This post, though old, is a great tutorial on setting priorities. You will be able to customize the order of the Bibles that appear in the top middle pane, and the commentary that populates the bottom middle. This is where he mentioned the Great Commentary of Cornelius à Lapide appearing in his post above.

2) It looks like some of the screenshot panels were pulled out of context to reveal more information (that may be why they look different from what you’re seeing.)

3) The topic guide was accessed by right clicking the Gospel in the Lectionary, making sure “Bible” is selected on the right, and Clicking “Passage Guide” on the left. Scroll down to see the Church Fathers section (pictured above).

open passage guide

4) Lastly, the dictionary was also prioritized as shown in number 1, so that double-clicking will open the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary if possible. If you double click a word that isn’t an entry, it will open a different dictionary instead.

Hope that helps!

Cyril of Alexandria—Saint & Scrapper

Today’s guest post is by Robert Klesko, Verbum’s Catholic Educational Resources Product Manager

It is zeal for your house that has consumed me – Psalm 69:9

The above quote from the Psalmist seems especially appropriate to the life and ministry of St. Cyril, Pope of Alexandria (c. 376-444). He was zealous. Zealous for the authentic Christian faith. But zeal without a bridle can lead to failures. Cyril certainly made mistakes in regard to his dealings with the city’s Jewish population and Orestes, the Roman Governor in Alexandria. He was prone to be hotheaded and unflinching in what he viewed to be unjust persecution against his flock from rival religious and political authority. However, Cyril is not honored as a saint and doctor of the Church for his political savvy. In fact, I believe it was precisely these early failures which caused him to refocus his ministry on the Christological questions of his time.

Cyril of course is known for his dispute with Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople. This dispute produced some of the most prodigious theology of the Patristic Age. His theology is available from Verbum as part of our special monthly sale. Our six-volume set of the Works of St. Cyril of Alexandria will introduce you to the zealous champion of the orthodox faith. Included in this collection are the Five Tomes against Nestorius, which set the groundwork for the Council of Ephesus (431AD) and Chalcedon (451AD). In Tome II, Cyril makes the following affirmation of the dual nature of the human and divine in Jesus:

Yet how is it not obvious to all that the Only-Begotten being God by Nature has been made man, not by connection simply […] considered as external or accidental, but by true union, ineffable and passing understanding. And thus He is conceived of as One and Only, and everything said befits Him and all will be said of One Person.

This statement, and others like it, heavily influenced the Church’s doctrine of hypostasis, the understanding that Christ is one person with two natures, human and divine. The “hypostatic union” articulated by St. Cyril would become one of the key doctrines of Christological and Trinitarian theology.

Beyond his Christological writings, this six-volume set will introduce you to St. Cyril as a Biblical scholar. Included are his two-volume commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke and the companion two-volume commentary on the Gospel of John. Composed of sermons delivered by St. Cyril on themes in the Gospels, these commentaries offer a rich exposition of the Alexandrian school of theology. Anyone interested in Patristics or Biblical theology would benefit greatly by making these resources part of their Verbum library.

Verbum’s sale on the Works of St. Cyril of Alexandria is for a limited time, so don’t let this opportunity pass by. Studying Cyril’s theology will give you a clear understanding of the development of the Church’s doctrine on the divinity and humanity of Christ. What a great opportunity to look at Christ through the eyes of one who was among the first to grapple with the classic theological question, “What do you think of the Christ?” (Mt. 22:42). Let the study of St. Cyril’s work ignite the zeal for Christ in your own life. Order today and take advantage of the savings!

Take 26% off Verbum’s 13‑volume Homilies Bundle

Verbum’s power extends beyond pure Bible study: some of its most useful features have to do with researching and preparing homilies. And, with features like the Catholic Topical Index, homily prep has never been easier.

Verbum’s new Homilies Bundle gives you insight from some of today’s leading homiletics experts. You can browse hundreds of homilies on a variety of liturgical events, from Sunday and daily Masses to feast days, weddings, and more.

Of course, all these homilies are linked and fully searchable, so you can study your homily side by side with relevant Bible verses, Catechism references, and Church documents.

Plus, with Verbum’s lectionary layout, you can open up a homily right next to the Lectionary, Roman Missal, and Bible for extra inspiration.

Homily preparation can be time-consuming. Verbum speeds it up—as you study, you’ll find references to works you may not have even considered looking up, all thanks to the way that Verbum organizes your library and links it together.

Want to learn more about Verbum and homiletics? See how Verbum can help you by watching this quick video.

Take 26% off the Homilies Bundle today!

Lift Up Your Hearts

Take 28% off Lift Up Your Hearts on Pre-Publication

Right now, you can pre-order the Lift Up Your Hearts collection for 28% off!

The liturgy “is the outstanding means whereby the faithful may express in their lives . . . the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true church” (Sancrosanctum Concilium 2). Verbum now brings you the Lift Up Your Hearts collection, a three-volume bundle of homiletic and liturgical helps for every Sunday and feast day during each year of the lectionary cycle. These volumes are linked and easily searchable, preparing you to give homilies that will inspire your parishioners all week long.

Lift Up Your Hearts isn’t just for priests and deacons, though it is ideal for this sort of work. It’s also great for parishioners looking for a deeper experience of the Sunday readings, or for liturgical ministers seeking insight into their participation in the Mass. Aptly named, Lift Up Your Hearts presents an engaging and deep exploration of the Word of God expressed living and true in the Mass and the public prayers of the Church.

Pre-order early to save 28% while this collection is on Pre-Publication. Regularly $45.95, these three volumes can be yours for $32.95. Pre-order yours today!

Or, better yet, check out the Homilies Bundle, which offers even bigger savings.

Take 24% off the CUA Studies in Early Christianity!

For just a little while, you can pre-order the Catholic University of America Studies in Early Christianity collection for 24% off!

The collection delves into the history of language, literature, social context, and patristic thought to bring you a rich overview of the ancient Church and its development over time.

These seven volumes give you brilliant original translations of key ancient texts, as well as dozens of critical essays on important historical documents like the Book of Steps, Liber Graduum,and more.

Discover the context and influence of Syriac texts in Christian thought. Examine how Christianity was spread by writers, readers, and translators in the second through seventh centuries. Analyze how the early Church Fathers dealt with ethical dilemmas, and apply their methods to twenty-first-century problems.

What makes this collection special is its brilliant historical scholarship. If you’re serious about exploring Church history, this collection is one you won’t want to pass up.

Deepen your understanding of history, language, patristics, and more. Pre-order the Catholic University of America Studies in Early Christianity collection for 24% off!

Verbum at the Fullness of Truth Conference

 

Submit your questions for Dr. Scott Hahn, Dr. John Bergsma, and Dr Michael Barber by joining this group.

 

Verbum has partnered with Fullness of Truth to make great conferences even better. Want to know how? This post should answer all your questions.

We want you to get the most out of the conference, and continue growing even after Mass on Saturday. Our Faithlife group and free app help you do this in several ways:

1. Join our Faithlife group to get exclusive conference information and news.

Follow this link and use your Logos account (or easily create one for free) to join a group of conference attendees. Get access to the schedule as a PDF document (in the documents tab) or right in the group (in the calendar tab). Keep an eye out for news and updates in the news tab.

Of course, all these tabs will appear once you join the group:

Join Faithlife Group

 2. Carry the Bible in your pocket.

The free Verbum app (for iOS and Android) puts several Bible translations—including the RSVCE—right on your phone or tablet. Use it to follow along with speakers, review the readings before Mass, or simply dive into the Scriptures. And yes, of course you can keep using it after the conference ends.

 Free Resources

(Trying to download to your Kindle Fire? Here are some step-by-step directions.)

For more information on downloading and using the app, continue to this post. Please note that free resources in the mobile app do not transfer to the desktop software.

3. Access conference information on your mobile device.

Once you’ve downloaded the free app and logged in with your Logos account, you’ll see the Faithlife news feed right in your app. It defaults to “My Faithlife,” but you can swipe in that panel to switch to the conference group feed. Keep track of updates and specials, or share your favorite insights from speakers.

Groups panel

Share right from your mobile device by clicking the “edit” icon.

Post a note

You can even access the calendar from your phone to make sure you don’t miss your favorite speaker. Simply click the “expand group” icon and navigate to the calendar tab.

Expand Group

You’ll access the website through the app frame.

App Frame

Click “done” to return to the Verbum app.

Once you’ve gotten familiar with the group and the app, be sure to join the Fullness of Truth group to hear about other upcoming conferences and special promotions.

Have a question? Post it below. We know this is a quick overview, and we want to help you get the most out of the conference. So let us know how we can help.

Look for Verbum at Your Local Conference

Verbum returns to the 6th annual Real Catholic Men conference June 15 at St. Pius X parish in Portland.  This year’s theme, “Behold My Beloved Son,” will be explored by Catholic Answers’ director of apologetics and evangelization, Tim Staples, and papal-medal-winning speaker Vernon Robertson.

Visit RealCatholicMen.com for more information.

Keep an eye out for Verbum at the next conference you attend, and be sure to stop by the booth: there will be special discounts on the latest edition of Verbum for new and existing users. If you (or a friend) have been considering purchasing or upgrading, conferences are a great opportunity!

VerbumPackage_Line-up

St. Joseph, Protector of the Church

Today’s guest post is by Brandon Rappuhn, a Logos marketing copywriter.

St. Joseph and the Christ child 1599What do we really know about St. Joseph?

According to tradition, St. Joseph, the foster father of our Lord Jesus Christ, was born and raised in Bethlehem. He learned the trade of carpentry from his father, just as he would pass that trade on to his foster son, Jesus. Joseph was an honorable and righteous man, who followed the law of Moses for the purpose of serving God and his fellow man (Matthew 1:19). This man of humble stature has had a deep and profound influence on the Catholic Church for the past 2,000 years.

Admittedly, much of what we know of Joseph is speculation, educated guesses, and hearsay. But none of our veneration is without merit. The plain and simple fact that God chose Joseph and Mary to raise, teach, and train the child Jesus attests far more to their character than even the Church assumes. The Church remembers that Joseph is a simple, humble man and that he protected Mary and Jesus when they were vulnerable (Matthew 2:14), but that probably wasn’t the only time Joseph kept Mary and Jesus from harm. He worked with his hands to provide a bed, food, and clothing for the young Jesus—the small, vulnerable child who was (and is) the God of the entire universe.

It is commonly held that Joseph gently passed away of natural causes before Jesus began his public ministry. The Catholic Encyclopedia notes that St. Epiphanius says Joseph died at 90 years of age, and Venerable Bede attests he was buried in the Valley of Josaphat. In any case, Joseph’s mission on earth was completed as Jesus prepared to enter into public ministry, leaving Jesus and Mary to begin a radical movement and new covenant that would change the world.

St. Joseph in the world today

We venerate St. Joseph today as the patron of fathers, workers, and the celibate. Countless parishes, schools, hospitals, and US counties have been named after him. Pope Pius IX devoted himself to St. Joseph and, in 1847, established that his feast day should be honored by the entire Catholic Church. Later, in 1871, the same pope declared that the entire Church should be under his patronage, thus establishing him today as the Church’s protector. Just as God appointed him to protect Jesus and Mary, so does he continue to pray for the protection of the Church Jesus so loves.

When should I expect white smoke?

This is the question on every Catholic’s mind: when will I see white smoke? When will we have a new pope?

I can’t tell you exactly—no one knows precisely when the ballots will be burned—but here are some good times to check the chimney:

 PST  MST  CST  EST  CET (Rome time)
 2:30 AM  3:30 AM  4:30 AM  5:30 AM  10:30 AM
 4:00 AM  5:00 AM  6:00 AM  7:00 AM  12:00 PM (noon)
 9:30 AM  10:30 AM  11:30 PM  12:30 PM  5:30 PM
 11:00 AM  12:00 PM  1:00 PM  2:00 PM  7:00 PM

 

Time in Rome


The cardinals will cast two votes in the morning—which they will burn at noon—and two in the evening—which they will burn at 7:00 PM (Rome time). This means we will see smoke at noon and 7:00 PM.
If the cardinals do not vote twice in the morning—if their first vote is conclusive—we will see white smoke around 10:30 AM. Similarly, for the evening ballots, we could see white smoke closer to 5:30 PM.

Again, these are only estimates—it never hurts to check more often.

Keep up with the action using the Conclave app.

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